3 - Al Imran (The family of Imran)

7 Tafsir(s) related to verse 3.104


Let there be one community of you calling to good, to Islam, and enjoining decency, and forbidding indecency; those, that call, bid and forbid, are the successful, the victorious (the particle min, ‘of’, [in minkum, ‘of you’] is partitive, since what is mentioned is a collective obligation [fard kifāya], and is not incumbent upon every individual of the community, for not every person, such as the ignorant, is up to it. However, it is also said that this particle is extra, and what is meant is, ‘so that you are a community [calling to good and so on]’).


Let there be one community of you calling to good, and enjoining decency, and forbidding indecency; those are the successful.

This is an allusion to people who remain with God, for God. No blame of any blamer reaches them, and no reliance on any cause (ʿilla) cuts them off from God. Their group comprehends the proofs of His command. They have restrained their lower selves and have dedicated their lives in seeking to obtain His contentment. They work for God, have been faithful to the religion (dīn) of God, and call the created beings of God to God. So their commerce is profitable and their transaction is not a loss.

Ibn Al Kathir

The Command to Establish the Invitation to Allah

Allah said,

وَلْتَكُن مِّنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ

(Let there arise out of you a group of people)

that calls to righteousness, enjoins all that is good and forbids evil in the manner Allah commanded,

وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

(And it is they who are the successful.)

Ad-Dahhak said, "They are a special group of the Companions and a special group of those after them, that is those who perform Jihad and the scholars.''

The objective of this Ayah is that there should be a segment of this Muslim Ummah fulfilling this task, even though it is also an obligation on every member of this Ummah, each according to his ability. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِع فَبِقَلْبِهِ، وَذلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الْإِيمَان»

(Whoever among you witnesses an evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable, then let him change it with his tongue. If he is unable, then let him change it with his heart, and this is the weakest faith.) In another narration, The Prophet said,

«وَلَيْسَ وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ مِنَ الْإِيمَانِ حَبَّةُ خَرْدَل»

(There is no faith beyond that, not even the weight of a mustard seed.)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman said that the Prophet said,

«وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِه، لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ، وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ، أَوْ لَيُوشِكَنَّ اللهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عِقَابًا مِنْ عِنْدِهِ، ثُمَّ لتَدْعُنَّــهُ فَلَا يَسْتَجِيبَ لَكُم»

(By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah shall send down a punishment from Him to you. Then, you will supplicate to Him, but He will not accept your supplication.)

At-Tirmidhi also collected this Hadith and said, "Hasan''. There are many other Hadiths and Ayat on this subject, which will be explained later.

The Prohibition of Division

Allah said,

وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاخْتَلَفُواْ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَآءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَـتُ

(And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them) 3:105.

In this Ayah, Allah forbids this Ummah from imitating the division and discord of the nations that came before them. These nations also abandoned enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil, although they had proof of its necessity.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu `Amir `Abdullah bin Luhay said, "We performed Hajj with Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan. When we arrived at Makkah, he stood up after praying Zuhr and said, `The Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنَّ أَهْلَ الْكِتَابَيْنِ افْتَرَقُوا فِي دِينِهِمْ عَلى ثِنْتَيْنِ وَسَبْعِينَ مِلَّةً، وَإِنَّ هذِهِ الْأُمَّةَ سَتَفْتَرِقُ عَلى ثَلَاثٍ وَسَبْعِينَ مِلَّةً يَعْنِي الْأَهْوَاءَ كُلُّهَا فِي النَّارِ إِلَّا وَاحِدَةً وَهِيَ الْجَمَاعَةُ وَإِنَّهُ سَيَخْرُجُ فِي أُمَّتِي أَقْوَامٌ تَجَارَى بِهِمْ تِلْكَ الْأَهْوَاءُ كَمَا يَتَجَارَى الْكَلَبُ بِصَاحِبِه، لَا يَبْقَى مِنْهُ عِرْقٌ وَلَا مَفْصِلٌ إِلَّا دَخَلَه»

(The People of the Two Scriptures divided into seventy-two sects. This Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, all in the Fire except one, that is, the Jama`ah. Some of my Ummah will be guided by desire, like one who is infected by rabies; no vein or joint will be saved from these desires.)

Mu`awiyah said next:By Allah, O Arabs! If you do not adhere to what came to you from your Prophet then other people are even more prone not to adhere to it. '' Similar was recorded by Abu Dawud from Ahmad bin Hanbal and Muhammad bin Yahya.

The Benefits of Brotherly Ties and Unity and the Consequence of Division on the Day of the Gatherin

Allah said next,

يَوْمَ تَبْيَضُّ وُجُوهٌ وَتَسْوَدُّ وُجُوهٌ

(On the Day when some faces will become white and some faces will become black;) 3:106on the Day of Resurrection. This is when the faces of followers of the Sunnah and the Jama`ah will radiate with whiteness, and the faces of followers of Bid`ah (innovation) and division will be darkened, as has been reported from Ibn `Abbas. Allah said,

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ اسْوَدَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ أَكْفَرْتُمْ بَعْدَ إِيمَـنِكُمْ

(As for those whose faces will become black (to them will be said): "Did you reject faith after accepting it")

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "They are the hypocrites.''

فَذُوقُواْ الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ

(Then taste the torment (in Hell) for rejecting faith,) and this description befits every disbeliever.

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ ابْيَضَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ فَفِى رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ

(And for those whose faces will become white, they will be in Allah's mercy (Paradise), therein they shall dwell forever.) in Paradise, where they will reside for eternity and shall never desire to be removed. Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Ghalib said, "Abu Umamah saw heads (of the Khawarij sect) hanging on the streets of Damascus. He commented, `The Dogs of the Fire and the worst dead people under the cover of the sky. The best dead men are those whom these have killed.' He then recited,

يَوْمَ تَبْيَضُّ وُجُوهٌ وَتَسْوَدُّ وُجُوهٌ

(On the Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) when some faces will become white and some faces will become black;) until the end of the Ayah. I said to Abu Umamah, `Did you hear this from the Messenger of Allah' He said, `If I only heard it from the Messenger of Allah once, twice, thrice, four times, or seven times, I would not have narrated it to you.' '' At-Tirmidhi said, "This Hadith is Hasan.'' Ibn Majah and Ahmad recorded similarly.

Allah said,

تِلْكَ آيَـتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ

(These are the Ayat of Allah. We recite them to you) meaning, `These are the verses of Allah, His proofs and signs that We reveal to you, O Muhammad,'


(in truth) making known the true reality of this world and the Hereafter.

وَمَا اللَّهُ يُرِيدُ ظُلْماً لِّلْعَـلَمِينَ

(and Allah wills no injustice to the `Alamin. ) for He never treats them with injustice. Rather, He is the Just Ruler Who is able to do everything and has knowledge of everything. Therefore, He does not need to treat any of His creatures with injustice, and this is why He said next,

وَللَّهِ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ

(and to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the Earth.),

they are all His servants and His property,

وَإِلَى اللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأُمُورُ

(And all matters go back to Allah,) for His is the decision concerning the affairs of this life and the Hereafter, and His is the Supreme Authority in this life and the Hereafter.


Let there be one community of you calling to good, that is, let there be from among you all a company of men who are knowledgeable and who pursue [good] deeds, who are knowers, upright in religion, such as the [Sufi] shaykhs of a ṭarīqa; calling to good, for the one who does not know God does not know good. Absolute good is absolute perfection, that which can enable a human being, depending on the type, to know the Truth, exalted be He, and to reach Him. Supererogatory [good] is the type by which one can attain the absolute [good] or [attain] that perfection specific to each person depending on what his specific preparedness entails. Therefore, the good to which the call is being made is either the Truth, exalted be He, or the means to reach [Him]. 'Decency' (maʿrūf) is every obligatory or recommended deed in religion, by which one seeks nearness to God, exalted be He; and 'indecency' (munkar) is every prohibited or reprehensible act that distances a person from God, exalted be He, and renders the person disobedient or one who has fallen short of his duties and is blameworthy. For the one who does not affirm the Oneness and is not upright, neither the station of the call nor the station of enjoining decency and forbidding indecency have any bearing on him; the one who is not an affirmer of Oneness might call [others] to obey other than God and to one who is not upright in religion. But even if such a person were an affirmer of the Oneness, it may be that he enjoins what for him is decent but what at the same time is indecent; or that he forbids what for him is indecent but what in reality is decent. Like the one who has attained the station of union but has veiled himself with the Truth from creatures, so that he frequently deems licit what is illicit, such as certain intoxicants, or he disposes of [other] people's property and deems illicit what is licit, nay what is recommended, such as being of humble character, rewarding virtuous acts and so on; those are the successful, the ones singled out for prosperity, those for whom there remains no veil, being the viceregents of God in His earth.

Kashf Al-Asrar

Let there be a community of you inviting to the good.

This is an allusion to peoples who stand up for God in God. They are not taken aback by the blame of any blamer nor cut off from God by relying on any causes. They have seen the shortcomings of their own souls and immersed their lives in gaining God's approval. They act for God, give counsel for God's religion, and call God's creatures to God. Their trade has profited them and they do not regret their handshake.

This is the description of a people who stand through the Real's making them stand and who have been freed from their own power and strength and disengaged from their own desires and aims. They are outside the circle of deeds and states, free of the captivity of choice and self- determination. They know God, they call upon God, and they strive in God's religion. They do not think about people or their blame. In their hearts they have friendship for the Patron and in their eyes the collyrium of Self-disclosure. They see everything just as it is. Others look from the artisanry to the Artisan, but they look from the Artisan to the artisanry. They are the elect of the Presence, branded by the Empire.

Be the elect servant of the king-with his brand

you're safe from police by day and patrols by night.

They are the ones burnt by union and killed by love. Their blood has been spilled and their prop- erty destroyed, but their hearts are in His grasp, their spirits in His embrace. This is why they say,

You have a Heart-taker better than life.

Don't grieve-let go of life.

"When someone is destroyed in God, God takes his place."

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This refers to those communities which received the Guidance and clear teachings from the Messengers of Allah but after some time discarded the basic principles of the Guidance and divided themselves into different sects on the basis of irrelevant and minor side-issues and were involved in useless and meaningless squabbles. They became so engrossed in these things that they totally forgot the mission which Allah had entrusted to them and lost interest even in the basic principles on which, in fact, depends the real success of humanity.

As Allah, does not will to be unjust to the people of the world, He is showing them Guidance and warning them before-hand of those things of which they shall have ultimately to render an account. Thus, those who follow the crooked ways even after this and do not return to the Right Way are doing injustice to themselves

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

Allah then commanded goodness and reconciliation, saying: (And there may spring from you) there still exists among you (a nation) a group (who invite to goodness) who invite to reconciliation and excellence, (and enjoin right conduct) they enjoin Allah's divine Oneness and the following of Muhammad (pbuh) (and forbid indecency) they forbid disbelief, idolatry and rejection, instead following the Messenger. (Such are they who are successful) who are saved from Allah's wrath and punishment.